Adobe Acquires Sayspring, Makes a Bet on Voice
Sayspring, the SaaS solution for voice app design, today announced that it was acquired by Adobe. The company also announced that it is discontinuing its paid software plans and all features will be free to use by everyone with a Sayspring account. Prospective Sayspring users will now be required to request an invitation to create an account to use the service. In today’s official statement, company CEO Mark Webster says:
“Since we first launched about a year ago, our team has been on a mission to provide creators with the tools they need to work with voice technology, no coding required. This aligns tightly with Adobe’s vision to give everyone – from emerging artists to global brands – everything they need to design and deliver exceptional digital experiences.”
Sayspring Was Funded in 2017, Acquired in 2018
Sayspring announced its $1.5 million seed round of funding in May 2017 and was acquired only eleven months later. The 2017 funding was led by Compound and included personal investment from Benchmark’s Scott Belsky as well as Alan Chung and Peter Stern. Story Ventures and McCune Capital also participated according to Crunchbase. At the time, Sayspring CTO Scott Werner said that the use of funds would go to “build out the team and grow the product.”
Adobe Bets on Voice
A blog on Adobe’s website today includes the title, “Adobe Bets on Voice with Sayspring Acquisition.” The blog post states:
“Founded in 2017, New-York based Sayspring has technology that makes it easy to design voice applications without coding. The full Sayspring team will join Adobe on Tuesday, April 17, and we’ll begin to integrate the technology into our product portfolio.”
An Adobe spokesperson would not confirm whether Sayspring will be incorporated into Creative Suite, but did share by email:
Voice continues to advance as a go-to form of interacting with technology, and Adobe has been actively experimenting with voice interfaces across its portfolio. This acquisition will advance Adobe’s vision to integrate voice as experiences move beyond keyboard, mouse and screens.
The Sayspring announcement suggests that many new features will be on the way. The fact that the solution is free and will not require an Adobe Creative Suite login is an interesting aspect of the announcement. Adobe clearly sees voice as an important new technology interface and wants to make Sayspring widely available to establish a firm foothold in the space.
Keeping it Designer Focused
Voicebot Podcast interviewed Sayspring CEO Mark Webster in early March and he was clear that the solution would remain designer-oriented. He said that Sayspring, unlike some other products in the voice market, was not focused on automating Alexa skill publishing and assumed that creatives and developers each needed their own purpose-built tools.
There is no click of deploy button at the end of this that publishes [the voice app] live. We’re very much designing tools for designers and the idea at the end of the design process gets handed off to a development team to then go through their process and develop these applications.
Mr. Webster was saying that Sayspring’s focus was more aligned with Adobe’s suite of tools for designers. He seems to have found an ideal acquirer.